By Lynn Meskell
Drawing on social idea and delivering a variety of case experiences, Archaeologies of Materiality is without doubt one of the first books to discover materiality throughout time and area.
- Demonstrates the saliency of materiality by way of linking it to ideas of panorama, know-how, embodiment, ritual, and history.
- Offers archaeological case reports starting from prehistoric to modern contexts, from Neo-Assyria, South Africa, Argentina, Panama, and the us.
- Explores the belief of a fabric universe that's socially conceived and built, yet that still shapes human event in day-by-day perform.
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Extra resources for Archaeologies of Materiality
Magic, however, brings a wish to life; it manifests a wish. Ludwig Wittgenstein, Remarks on Frazier’s Golden Bough (Miles and Rhees 1971) Implicit in Wittgenstein’s aphorism that magic “manifests a wish” is the notion that magic requires concrete demonstration: the fulﬁllment of the wish made real. At ﬁrst glance, magic as both the manifestation of a wish and its fulﬁllment seems to pose a contradiction in this act of 24 M AGICAL S ENSE AND A POTROPAIC F IGURINE W ORLDS making real. But magic is an exchange that seeks synthesis, and such exchange, “as in any other form of communication, surmounts the contradiction inherent in it” (Levi-Strauss 1987:58).
But the exposure of this secret, which would seem to threaten the very dissolution of the religious belief and tradition at the core of Assyrian social life, instead serves to preserve these beliefs and traditions (cf. Taussig 1999). In this way, the apotropaic device recalls that perverse disposition of the supplement: “a terrifying menace, the supplement is also the ﬁrst and surest protection against that very menace” (Derrida 1974:153). Figurine deposits secure the protection of the present by giving a future to the mythological past, a past in which the gods and spirits ground the condition for human social life.
Magic surely presents something beyond the reach of representational or functional interpretations and thus demands a different perspective. What is required is an evocation of magic that aims directly at the caesura between meaning and matter and delves into the shadowy processes of materializing experience, belief, and value. Perhaps it is not surprising that archaeology, with only material traces of human activity to work with, has left the critical study of magic to other disciplines. It is revealing that “magic” is generally invoked as an explanation for those slippery things, processes, and occurrences that our rational and linguistic varieties of logic can’t quite master.
Archaeologies of Materiality by Lynn Meskell